BD to ask Canada to change ROO for LDCs

Monira Munni

The government will send a proposal to the Canadian government, requesting it to bring about necessary changes in the existing rules of origin (ROO) for the LDCs, so that Bangladesh is not affected by its latest move to review the GPT.

The Ministry of Commerce (MoC) officials Monday sat with officials of the ministries concerned and representatives of country’s apparel and textile sectors to discuss the government’s position regarding the Canadian move to review its General Preferential Tariff (GPT) for the developing countries, sources said.

Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed presided over the meeting.

“Bangladesh is expected to request the Canadian authority to bring about necessary changes in its present rules of origin facility for the LDCs, if it reviews the GPT,” a meeting source told the FE, adding the request is expected to be sent on February 12.

He further said Bangladesh would also seek some other facilities from Canada, as provided to the former by other countries and blocks, like the European Union.

According to the ROO for the LDCs provided by Canada, a LDC will enjoy the duty-free facility, if it imports raw materials from the GPT-enjoying countries.

Bangladesh’s exports to Canada will be significantly affected by the proposed review, as the former imports 90 per cent of its raw materials of RMG sector, including cotton and fabric, from China and India, which are in the GPT withdrawal list, said sector insiders.

When asked the BGMEA vice president Md Siddiqur Rahman said if Canada reviews the GPT, Bangladesh’s apparel exports, especially that of woven items, will be affected, as the latter imports the major portion of its required raw materials from India and China.

On December 22 last year, Canada announced to review its GPT regime for the developing countries. As part of the review, the Canadian government is seeking comments on proposed changes to the various elements of the GPT from all interested stakeholders by February 15.

In the proposed review, Canada is going to withdraw its GPT facility for 72 developing countries, including China and India. Bangladesh is out of the list as a LDC.

“We will send our opinion on February 12, seeking some preferential treatments from Canada,” the commerce secretary said without elaborating further.

Bangladesh is not opposing the Canadian initiative of reviewing the GPT for the developing countries, but it will raise concern in this connection, another meeting source said.

If the GPT is reviewed and the ROO for the LDCs are not amended, Bangladesh will be affected, as its cost of production will increase, and it will not enjoy the present duty-free facility to Canadian market, he explained.

Source: Financial Express

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